SBI, PNB to charge for SMS alerts

After private sector banks started charging customers for SMS alerts for transactions, public sector banks, the State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB), too, have decided to follow suit.

Customers will be charged Rs 15 per quarter for SMS alerts with effect from Monday.
“With effect from quarter ending June 2013, SMS charges of Rs 15, inclusive of service tax, per quarter will be recovered,” SBI, the country’s largest lender with over 18 crore customers said. Other public sector lenders are also expected to start paid SMS services soon.

Punjab National Bank, however, said senior citizen accounts, staff accounts, student accounts and basic savings bank accounts will not be charged. Private sector lenders such as ICICI and Axis Bank have been charging their customers for SMS alerts. The move comes apparently after telecom companies increased the bulk SMS charges by about 10 times.

SMS alerts have come in handy in the wake of increasing bank transaction frauds. It is a kind of preventive measure for a customer, who can alert the bank immediately after receiving an SMS for a transaction which he or she has not made.

SMS alerts also help customers get information on cheque books issued to them and return of cheques, if any.

Last month, Canara Bank announced a levy of about Rs 112 as annual fee on its ATM-cum-debit cards from July 1. The bank, which currently issues cards free of cost, said in a circular that a need has been felt to offer the services at competitive rates in tune with “market trends”.

“It has been decided to charge a nominal fee of Rs 100 per card plus applicable service tax on completion of one year from the date of issue/renewal of the card and thereafter to be charged yearly,” it said.

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